Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you're doing something fun today, like eating chocolate.  :)  This past month I've been trying to get over my "fear" of messes and let my son experience a little more messy play.  The absolute disaster zones that he creates just during mealtime makes it hard for me to want to let him play with something on purpose... but we're making progress.

Anyway, I mention this because earlier this week we made some playdough and mixing all the fun colors inspired me to make a cake.  Yes, it's a stretch, but that's where my mind goes.  haha  We also did an awesome Valentine's craft, but it's Liam's present for Daddy, so I'll have to keep it a secret for a little longer.

This is one of my favorite cake recipes.  It's a very basic recipe that you can tweak pretty easily.  A one layer cake - an everyday cake, if you will.  (stay tuned and you'll be seeing a few of my alterations of this cake later).  Made this way, you have a beautiful white cake, but when you cut into it, it explodes with color.

Valentine Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3/4 c. butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • (food coloring)
  • Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line and grease a deep 8 inch cake pan.

Cream together butter and sugar, beating for 5-10 minutes, to a fine white cream.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time and mix in the vanilla.  Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined.

Divide batter in to four or five small bowls and mix a different color into each bowl.  Drop spoonfuls of the different colors into prepared cake pan.  Use a knife or toothpick to swirl around and even out the top of the cake.
Bake for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours.  Remove and place on a wire wrack to cool.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 c. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp ground cinnamon (to taste)


Cream together cream cheese and butter.  Mix in vanilla and cinnamon.  *Note: start with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and add more if you want a stronger flavor.*  Frost cake.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Day 12: Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Dipped Cookies

If you're just joining me, be sure to check out the other recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies:
Day 1: Fail-proof No Bake Cookies
Day 2: Chocolate Pretzel Cookies
Day 3: Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Whipped Maple Cream Cheese Filling
Day 4: Snickerdoodles
Day 5: Gingerbread Cookies
Day 6: Alfajores or Dulce de Leche sandwich cookies
Day 7: Almond Biscotti with Lemon
Day 8: Pie Crust Cookies
Day 9: Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
Day 10: Chinese Five-Spice Oatmeal Cookies
Day 11: Danish Butter Cookies


I've had so much fun this year with my 12 Days of Cookies.  I've loved trying new recipes as well as vising old favorites.  I hope you've had as much fun as me!  :)

For the final recipe this year, I decided to go with something chocolaty.  However, this isn't just any chocolate cookie.  This is a quadruple threat kind of cookie.  There are 4 different forms of chocolate in this cookie!  Yes, you read that right!  Four!  Cocoa powder, Melted chocolate, Chocolate chips, and Chocolate ganache.  Yum!  :)

Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Dipped Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 3/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp salted butter
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the 2 cups chocolate pieces and 2 Tbsp of the butter.  Cook, stirring continuously, over low heat, until melted.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, cream remaining butter with brown sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Use a 1 Tbsp cookie scoop to drop dough balls onto baking sheets 2 inches apart.  Place baking sheet in refrigerator and chill at least 10 minutes, until dough balls are firm.  Bake 10 minutes, let cool completely on baking sheets.

Dip each cookie halfway into the chocolate ganache.  Place on a wire rack until ganache is set.  Store layered between waxed paper in an airtight container.  Makes about 5 dozen cookies.


Chocolate Ganache
Combine whipping cream, butter, and sugar in a small sauce pan.  Bring just to boiling, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.  Meanwhile place the chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl.  Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and let stand 5 minutes.  Whisk until smooth.  Let cool to room temperature before using.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Day 11: Danish Butter Cookies

If you're just joining me, be sure to check out the other recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies:
Day 1: Fail-proof No Bake Cookies
Day 2: Chocolate Pretzel Cookies
Day 3: Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Whipped Maple Cream Cheese Filling
Day 4: Snickerdoodles
Day 5: Gingerbread Cookies
Day 6: Alfajores or Dulce de Leche sandwich cookies
Day 7: Almond Biscotti with Lemon
Day 8: Pie Crust Cookies
Day 9: Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
Day 10: Chinese Five-Spice Oatmeal Cookies


You know those amazing butter cookies - the ones in the blue tins?  This time of year, they seem to be everywhere.  I rarely buy them because when I do, I can't seem to get enough of them.  Not that I have, but I'm pretty sure I could eat the entire thing on my own.  :)  So, of course, I decided the best thing to do was to make them myself!

This recipe is delicious and so simple.  Crisp, and slightly sweet.  Best yet - it's a one bowl recipe!


Danish Butter Cookies

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Mix on medium speed until combined and a dough forms.

Scoop the dough into a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip.  Depending on the size of the bag, you may have to divide the dough in half, or even thirds and work in batches.  *Note: I used a size 21 open star tip, because that was all I had on hand.  It was way too small!  It resulted in adorable quarter-sized cookies, but it took forever and made my hand cramp.  I'd recommend something more along the lines of a 4B or maybe even a 6B.

Pipe dough in circles on the parchment paper, overlapping the ends slightly.  The cookies didn't spread, so I placed them about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes, or until edges begin to brown slightly.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet 2-3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Store in an airtight container.

Get creative with this recipe!  You can pipe all kinds of shapes...use different tips too!  I used a large (ok, massive - #798) basketweave tip to create the large ridged cookies.  Try sprinkling them with coarse decorating sugars, or colored sugar, for added sparkle and holiday color!  They would probably work well with a cookie press too.  (Don't quote me on that though, since I don't have one to try!)  :)






Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 10: Chinese Five-Spice Oatmeal Cookies

If you're just joining me, be sure to check out the other recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies:
Day 1: Fail-proof No Bake Cookies
Day 2: Chocolate Pretzel Cookies
Day 3: Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Whipped Maple Cream Cheese Filling
Day 4: Snickerdoodles
Day 5: Gingerbread Cookies
Day 6: Alfajores or Dulce de Leche sandwich cookies
Day 7: Almond Biscotti with Lemon
Day 8: Pie Crust Cookies
Day 9: Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are hard to beat.  They're a great classic cookie, but sometimes it's nice to mix up a classic.  The Chinese Five-Spice in these cookies may sound a little weird - it did to me too.  It's just the right amount of something different, and it's oh-so-addicting!  These cookies were best the second day.  They'll probably keep for about a week in an airtight container, but mine only lasted three days.  ;)

Chinese Five-Spice Oatmeal Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups quick cooking rolled oats


Preheat oven to 350, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, five spice, cinnamon, and salt.  In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy 2-3 minutes.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Stir in the flour mixture until well incorporated.  Mix in the oats.

Drop dough in 1 1/2 inch portions, about 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly golden.

Let cool on baking sheets 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Day 9: Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

If you're just joining me, be sure to check out the other recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies:
Day 1: Fail-proof No Bake Cookies
Day 2: Chocolate Pretzel Cookies
Day 3: Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Whipped Maple Cream Cheese Filling
Day 4: Snickerdoodles
Day 5: Gingerbread Cookies
Day 6: Alfajores or Dulce de Leche sandwich cookies
Day 7: Almond Biscotti with Lemon
Day 8: Pie Crust Cookies
Day 9: Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies


This recipe was given to me by a friend a number of years ago.  Lemon-poppy seed is a classic flavor combination, and these cookies do it just right.  Soft, yet crisp, with a burst of lemony flavor, I'm reminded of the first bite off the top of a lemon-poppy seed muffin.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds, plus more for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Bring lemon juice to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until reduced by half.  Add 1/2 cup butter and stir until melted.  Set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.  Put remaining 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: mix on medium speed until creamy.  Add egg and reserved lemon butter: mix until pale, about 3 minutes.  Mix in vanilla and 2 tsp lemon zest.  Reduce speed to low.  Mix in flour mixture and poppy seeds.

Stir together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest in a small bowl.  Drop 1 1/4 inch dough balls into lemon-sugar mixture.  Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets.  Press each with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar mixture until 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake 10-12 minutes; let cool completely on baking sheets.  Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.



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